A Tennessee State University sorority reinvents woman empowerment through entertainment for students. The event included a strong panel discussion, music, poetry, and drama.

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TSU student, Melan White, performing to the The Epitome of A Woman: The Underestimation of The Black Woman seminar in TSU Student Center Forum.

By Jer’Myeal McCoy

Phresh & Professional

NASHVILLE – The woman of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Alpha Chi chapter at Tennessee State University presented The Epitome of A Woman: The Underestimation of The Black Woman seminar in TSU Student Center Forum on the night of Tuesday Nov. 6. Over a hundred students came out to the event that exposed students to the history of misrepresentation of black woman in society and media. The seminar’s purpose was to promote women to take more action in developing themselves as woman and reaching their potential.

“Its explaining and exemplifying the epitome of a what woman is. The woman that we want the [female] students at Tennessee State University to become after their matriculation here at TSU. To represent a strong woman, not just a strong black woman,” said Shondalyn Smith, a senior at TSU and currently serves as chapter president of DST.

While empowering the mostly female audience, the ladies of DST also added an element of entertainment to the educational message. The event accompanied a panel discussion comprised of current and former college students including: Delbirta Green (Louis & Wright Funeral Directors/ TSU 06’), Clarence Ball, III (TSU Professor), Simone Hopes (TSU Women’s Basketball player), and Shalimar Leggett (Miss Fisk University 2012-2013). The panel covered topics ranging the over-sexualization of black woman in today’s media to educational sacrifices for relationships.

“The type of seminars are not just for girls, their for everyone.” Said Dr. Gloria C. Johnson, who is the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at TSU campus advisor to Delta Sigma Theta, Inc.

According to Dr. Johnson, the seminar is apart of a series that began with the sorority back in 2006, even winning an award for the series. The organization has done multiple seminars in past years and it possible that the sorority will possibly have another one in the spring semester. The chapter also aims to use these type of event to create a sense of cohesion amongst the female organizations and bringing the campus closer together.

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The evening also featured music and spoken word poetry from TSU students. TSU junior, Artrisa Fulton, who is a member of TSU’s Award-Winning Forensics Team, opened with poetry piece attacking the secondary role of woman from biblical times to the modern era. Melan White, another TSU student, later performed a cover from Grammy Award-Winner Jill Scott. White choose “I Am Here” from the songstress which details the importance of relationship between a men and a women.

In between questions for the panel and audience, members of the sorority to displayed real-world circumstances affecting black women in today’s society in several skits. the first was an interview scene where the members demonstrated the lack of confidence woman display in job interviews. A later scene showed the underestimation employers have in the abilities in black women.

“One of the most important takeaways woman can get from this is to be confident. No matter what we’re going though, no matter how hard the challenge,” said Smith.

Contact Jer’Mykeal McCoy at info@phreshprofessional.com or leave a comment below. Follow him on Twitter or Instagram @truerealmccoy. 

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